Jur-E Bulletin: February 16, 2018


New Mexico Juror Orientation Video

New Mexico Juror Orientation Video was published on Youtube on February 8, 2018. It features testimonials from several former jurors who describe their experiences. On of those jurors speaks in Spanish and uses an interpreter to explain his experience. The video notes that New Mexico is the first state in the country that protects the rights of non-English speaking persons to serve on juries. The video is narrated by Tom Joles of KOB-TV. It is professionally done and worth taking a few minutes to watch.

Continued Calls for More Inclusive Juries in Canada

The Canadian Press reported on February 9, 2018, that following the acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, legal experts and advocates for indigenous persons are calling for more inclusive juries in Canada. Many indigenous people are not on the source lists used to select jury panels. Those that are can be removed using peremptory challenges. Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould stated that she is concerned about the problem but further study would be necessary to address it. 

Prying Open the Deliberations Door?

Jason Koffler of the Columbia Law School published his article online titled February 12, 2018 titled, What Comes Next: Expansion of the Pena-Rodriguez Racial Bias Exception to the No-Impeachment Rule. The abstract to the article states:

In the recent case of Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, the Supreme Court announced a constitutional exception to the juror no-impeachment rule--a traditional evidentiary rule barring jurors from testifying about what occurred during jury deliberations in an effort to impeach the verdict. Under this exception, where a juror makes a clear statement evincing that he or she convicted a criminal defendant on the basis of racial stereotypes or animus, the trial court may consider evidence of such juror statements. While the Court framed its decision as a necessary means of protecting the Sixth Amendment right to a fair and impartial trial, the Court discussed at length the need to rid the jury system of racial bias and prejudice, seemingly placing the case within a long line of cases intended to eliminate the impact of racism in the criminal justice system. As such, the Court limited its holding, and the newly created exception, strictly to instances of racial bias.

While the Supreme Court limited the Pena-Rodriguez exception to instances of only racial bias, judges and commentators alike have questioned whether such a limitation is possible in practice. Justice Alito noted as much in his dissent, arguing that there is no principled basis for limiting this exception to race. This Note explores this question: will, and should, the Pena-Rodriguez exception remain limited to race. First, this Note analyzes the jurisdictions in which a bias exception had already existed before Pena-Rodriguez to determine whether these exceptions have expanded beyond race to date. Next, this Note examines the related doctrinal area of voir dire peremptory strikes to determine whether the expansion of a race-only Batson exception to other types of prejudice can shed light on Pena-Rodriguez’s potential evolution. Finally, using the states’ experience with these exceptions and the Court’s own past experience under Batson, this Note demonstrates that the narrow exception created by Pena-Rodriguez is likely to, and should, expand beyond race, and suggests that, in addition to procedural barriers, incorporation of Fourteenth Amendment principles can ensure the no-impeachment rule continues to serve its purpose as a safeguard of the jury system.

Jury Management Workshop

During this 2 1/2 day workshop on March 14-16, 2018, at the Ceremonial Courtroom in the Civil Courts Building in St. Louis, MO, participants will learn about best practices to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of jury operations, to ensure the integrity of the jury selection process, and to treat jurors with dignity and respect.

Ms. Paula Hannaford-Agor, Director of the NCSC Center for Jury Studies, teaches court managers and jury managers to:

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses in jury operations
  • Estimate the operational and fiscal impact of poor performance
  • Implement policies and procedures to prevent or respond to legal challenges to the jury system
  • Use tools, performance measures, and best practices to address problems

For more information, click here

Upcoming Events

February 16, 2018

Jur-E Bulletin is a publication of the Center for Jury Studies.

Editor: Greg Hurley

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